The power of the wind is blowing strong with wind energy now set to become one of the major sources of electricity, reports industry body,the British Wind Energy Association. 525 megawatts won planning permission this year, almost exactly the total amount built during the previous eleven years put together.London, UK – December 31, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] The power of the wind is blowing strong with wind energy now set to become one of the major sources of electricity, reports industry body, the British Wind Energy Association. 525 megawatts won planning permission this year, almost exactly the total amount built during the previous eleven years put together. “2002 will be remembered as the year that wind energy became the technology of choice,” said BWEA Chief Executive Nick Goodall. “In a volatile year for established generators with the nuclear industry struggling, gas prices doubling and the effects of climate change never more obvious, energy companies, politicians and the public have turned to the simplest and most bountiful resource of all – the wind.” Across the UK, even in Wales, where critics have said that wind energy isn’t a winner, planning success have been mirrored by spectacular growth in what the DTI (Dept of Trade and Industry) describes as “the UK’s leading renewables trade association”, now standing at 235 companies of every size and background. 2002 has been a year of notable achievements in more ways than one: * BWEA’s Chairman David Still has been seconded to the DTI to consolidate the growth in not just wind but to bring wind’s success to bear in the UK’s other abundant renewable resources * Seven members of BWEA were appointed to the 19-strong Renewables Advisory board set up by Energy Minister Brian Wilson in November * The UK’s largest renewables event ‘deep green power’ attracted record participation with over 500 delegates and 50 companies exhibiting * BWEA moved to bespoke offices in central London and increased its staff complement to seven, including the appointment of planning and offshore specialists * Two offshore wind farms won planning consent and the Government has revealed plans for a further 4000 MW of offshore wind * The first wind turbine manufacturing plant in the UK for 20 years was established in Scotland, at Machrihanish by the world’s leading turbine manufacturer, Vestas * The Performance and Innovation Unit in its report to Government in February identified wind power, on and offshore, as being the “cheapest low carbon options” for electricity generation * And last, but by no means least, the Government’s Obligation on electricity suppliers is widely recognized as leading to a 20-fold increase in wind capacity by 2010. With the 1000th turbine in the UK due to be switched on any day now, wind powers’ contribution to the supply mix now stands at 552.195 MW, generating 1.45 TWh of clean green electricity, equivalent to the annual electricity needs of well over 350,000 households, or every home in Norfolk. 2002’s 20 percent increase in wind power generation is set to be eclipsed in future years, as BWEA predicts over 300 MW for construction in 2003 and a further 600 MW in 2004, bringing the UK wind industry closer to its avowed intention of over 3200 MW by the end of 2006, a six-fold increase on current capacity. Wind power is truly a force to be reckoned with.